In his introductory press conference on December 30, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh explained that there are no turnarounds at Michigan, and that the talent in the program has and will be among the best in the country. And if the work the polarizing coach has done so far to build his 2016 recruiting class is any indication, he is ensuring that he will be true to his word.
In 2014, with just 37 days to build his 2015 recruiting class, Harbaugh reeled in an admirable 14 recruits. But the work he has done since February is even more impressive — he has already convinced 17 players to suit up for the Wolverines in 2016. The class has vaulted to No. 8 in the country, according to 247Sports.
The driving force behind Harbaugh’s recruiting success thus far has been his winning pedigree and competitiveness.
“I think a lot of guys are excited about him,” said fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Rudock. “He’s a guy who knows how to win. Harbaugh is a great coach, we know that. Kids are willing to come here, and their parents want to send them.”
There are just two student-athletes who committed before Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor: offensive tackle Erik Swenson from Illinois and linebacker Dele Harding from Maryland. The two are four-star and three-star recruits, respectively.
Harbaugh has also added two new quarterbacks to the program that is already seven-men deep at the position.
Brandon Peters, at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, is regarded as a pro-style quarterback and is the eighth-ranked player at his position. He has reached the Elite 11 Quarterback Competition Finals for this year, and finished first among over 200 participants at the Ann Arbor Aerial Assault camp. Peters has said that Harbaugh compared him to Andrew Luck during the recruitment process.
Though he is listed as a quarterback and linebacker at his high school, Californian Victor Viramontes is considered an elite athlete whose game could transition well to the defensive side of the ball for Michigan.
As it turns out, the Wolverines’ two most highly touted recruits — offensive tackle Ben Bredeson and offensive guard Michael Onwenu — could end up paying dividends for Peters or Viramontes down the road. The pair hail from Wisconsin and Detroit, respectively.
Both have garnered four-star status and rank in the top 10 at their positions.
Harbaugh’s other offensive commits consist of running backs Kiante Enis, Matthew Falcon and Chris Evans, in addition to tight end Sean McKeon.
Both Evans and Enis are from Indiana, while Falcon is an in-state recruit from Southfield. In contrast to Ennis and Falcon, Evans is regarded as more of an all-purpose back.
Enis has chosen the Wolverines over four other Big Ten offers, while Evans and Falcon have each rejected eight other Big Ten competition opportunities.
McKeon is just a three-star recruit, but his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame could transition well to success as a tight end at the next level.
Kingston Davis is a fullback from Alabama that will be added to the backfield in 2016 as well. He rushed for 14 touchdowns and 1,407 yards in 2014.
Michigan has added assets on the defensive end with the 2016 class as well. Inside linebacker David Reese is a Michigan native and is ranked the No. 16 player in the state.
Cornerback Antwaine Richardson doesn’t boast high recruiting rankings, but chose Michigan instead of an offer from powerhouse program Florida State. Coaches have taken note of Richardson’s long arms that will rarely allow him to be beat over the top of the defense. He’s been credited for his toughness despite his 6’0”, 165 lb. frame.
Floridian safety Devin Gil has chosen the Wolverines after originally giving a verbal to the University of Miami. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound. prospect recorded 64 tackles in 16 games played at Flanagan High School.
Linebacker Dytarious Johnson, safety Josh Metellus and defensive tackle Rashad Weaver round out Harbaugh’s defensive recruitments thus far. None of the trio boast recruitment rankings over three stars, but all three worked with Harbaugh in-person during the coach’s ExposureU tour, and showcase Harbaugh’s ability to recruit talented players outside the state of Michigan.
In total, the 2016 class consists of recruits from nine different states, which could be an encouraging sign for what’s in store for the future of the program.
Harbaugh quickly won over the fans’ hearts back in December, and if his early efforts are any indication, his recruiting class may be winning him games to go with it.